Quilter Question: Hand Piecing or Machine?

About seven years ago, while building her quilting fabric stash, Katie bought an unfinished Bear’s Claw quilt top on eBay.  It came to mind last night as I was falling asleep, because I was thinking about taking some hand piecing on my flight to Ireland next month.  I didn’t know if the finished squares were pieced by hand or machine….I’d have to wait until I woke up in the morning to find out.

I poured my first cup of coffee and pulled out the four bags that held the quilt top pieces in various stages of completion.  There are three completed blocks;  one almost done; lots of half square triangles, sashing and squares; and some triangles that have been traced on squares of fabric, waiting to be cut out.

  

I immediately picked up the finished squares to see if they had been pieced by hand, or by machine.  Obviously, they had been done by machine.

Here’s my question for you all….if I wanted to tackle this quilt top (with Katie’s permission, of course!), should I continue to piece this quilt by machine?  Or would you switch it up and hand stitch the rest of it?

I realize that even if I use my machine, I run the risk of my blocks looking a bit different simply because I’m not the original quilter.  Would you agree?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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WIP: Forgotten Projects

If you float around the blog-o-sphere and read quilting or sewing blogs, you’ve probably come across the acronym WIP. It stands for Work In Progress and it means exactly what it says. A WIP post is sharing a quilt or sewing project that you’ve been working on and it’s not done.

I find sharing projects that aren’t done and in the process of becoming something else a positive thing. It’s motivation to keep going. People share what they are working on and also share their stories. And knowing you aren’t alone in the sea of unending projects, is comforting.

But today I want to share a different kind of WIP. A project that is not only in progress but it has also fallen by the wayside. Those projects that got started, something got in the way of finishing them, and BOOM!!! Years later they are found in a pile of fabric with no idea HOW it got there.

In my new found motivation to sew and get things done around my crafty center, I decided to take advantage of the WIP Wednesday and dig through my stash to find those lost nuggets, unfinished, forgotten projects.

This first project is fairly recent, as in I remember starting it and I even wrote about it. It’s called the Fresh Pears Table Runner. It’s a simple pattern with a pear applique. I picked a Moda pack with some cream, red, and black fabrics and got pretty far into making the runner itself. I also had some nice mellow lime-olive green fabric to cut my pears out of.

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But then my brash self got too far ahead and messed it up during a Friday Night Sew-in.

Fright Night Sew-In: What Have I Done?!?

This project has been buried. I was so frustrated with the way it came out that I shoved it aside and haven’t looked at it in years. So I dug around and got lucky. It was all put together in a baggie, waiting for me to return!

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The only issue is that the instructions are no longer with it. And it was just printed on a simple piece of white paper so it could be anywhere. Or it could have bee tossed. The desk I was originally using for my quilting back then has been repurposed a few times over so I have NO CLUE where those instructions went to.

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Looking back at my original post, when the whole thing came together, there was a hitch in the center of the four squares. Turning it over, I could see why. The seams were all pressed in different directions and when the four corners came together, they made a jumbled heap of fabric that didn’t work together. Some were turned under, others were hitched in the opposite direction making the whole thing buckle. It wouldn’t lay flat no matter how hard I tried!!

So I pulled out my seam ripper and worked everything apart. I also noted that my hurried style had left this project in a few different stopping points. I had strips cut but not sewn together. I have squares of four strips ready along with pairs of squares already joined. Then I had scraps and raw pieces just floating around in the baggie.

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Such a mess!!! After pulling apart the one big square, I set about to press all the seams open and make life easier on myself. My next steps will be to finish sewing all the squares and then pressing the last seams open so that everything is ready to join up into bigger squares. And if I can find the instructions, I hope to have this project done before the year is over.

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Along with that forgotten project, I also found a batch of rows all sewn together. I knew it was a moda charm pack but couldn’t for the life of me remember which one. Then I found it! It’s the Moda Lollipop kit.

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I have no clue what I was planning with this set but it would seem to be ripe for a nice patchwork quilt. One charm pack has been all sewn together in rows of four with two random pieces left over. I pressed the seams on this project and laid everything out to get a good bird’s eye view of the whole mess.

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Pretty cute, I’d say. I will need to do the same with the second charm pack to make it big enough. I’m thinking just a big messy patchwork quilt with a border, backing, and binding. Nothing too fancy. And maybe I won’t quilt the top but instead will tie it down.

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Lastly was this gem. It’s an eBay purchase with the best of intentions. From the emailed receipt attached to the baggie, it’s a Bear Claw pattern in red and black. This thing is an assorted mess. There are four bags of fabric in different states of completion: one completed square, some partials squares, bits and pieces of other soon to be made squares and then just random bits.

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Again, this was bought with the best of intentions in the heyday of my stash building and fabric buying. Had I started to work right away on this project, I bet it would have made more sense. But now, years later and in the chaotic state that it is in, I’m baffled. I mean, where does one even start with a project like this? I don’t even have instructions in hand so I’ll be left to searching the web for a general idea of what to do. Although, with one completed square, I can probably piece it together.

To say the least after my long winded post, I have a lot of work already in front of me. I’d say with patience and time, I could have a few projects finished before the end of the year without starting anything new. There is enough here to keep me busy for a long while!
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As if I wasn’t busy enough, I finished The Book Thief and I moved onto a new book in progress, A Vision in Velvet. LOVE this little series! It set in San Francisco (probably my favorite city) and it has magic and vintage clothing and mystery. All fun stuff to read!

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